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Public show strong support for 7p a week council tax increase to safeguard policing services

Derbyshire’s Police and Crime Commissioner Hardyal Dhindsa today indicated his plans to apply a “small but necessary” increase in the amount of council tax paid towards policing to sustain future services. 

The Commissioner will present his final budget arrangements to the Police and Crime Panel for formal approval on 26 January.

The Commissioner said the Government had made it clear that a 2% increase in the precept was vital to reducing the anticipated gap from central funding in 2017/18.

Such a move would see an average Band D householder in Derbyshire pay an extra £3.54 per year (or 6.8 pence per week) from April.

Each 1% increase in the council tax precept generates an extra £500,000. A 2% increase would raise an extra £1m – the equivalent of 20-25 police officers.

More than seven in 10 (73%) respondents to the Commissioner’s recent budget survey supported increasing the policing portion of the council tax bill by 2% or higher.

“The demands on our services are increasing year on year and we simply don’t have the funding available to meet the operational capacity this warrants as it currently stands,” warned Mr Dhindsa.

“I’m faced with little alternative but to follow the expectations of our former Chancellor George Osborne in his autumn statement in 2015 and plug any deficit with the maximum and necessary precept level of 2% as indicated.

“Any increase in the precept is regrettable but maintaining policing resilience and resources saves lives and helps us target the crimes that matter most to local people and I’m determined to protect the services and performance that keep Derbyshire among the safest counties in the country.

“The overwhelming majority of local people living in Derbyshire understand the burden we face and are willing to support this small but necessary rise to generate critical revenue.”

The Commissioner said he was working closely with the Chief Constable to identify savings and adjust to what would be another financially tough year. 

“I would like to thank all those who contributed to the survey. Your views have played a valuable role in the preparation process of the 2017/18 budget and will be drawn upon as I finalise my plans in the next few weeks,” he added.

The cost of policing Derbyshire in 2017/18 will be about £165million.

About two thirds of this is funded by Government grant and about one third is from Council Tax.

Although national statistics show recorded crime has generally continued to fall in Derbyshire, there is clear evidence that digital crime and cyber-crime, not included in the statistics, are increasing significantly. 

The survey, which received 476 responses, revealed 73.4% of people living in Derbyshire are happy that the money they pay towards policing represents good value.

A total of 28.9% of respondents said they were happy for the precept to increase by more than 2% while 44.1% supported a precept increase of 2% in line with the Chancellor’s expectations.

The Commissioner will present his final budget arrangements to the Police and Crime Panel for formal approval on 26 January.

Ends

Media Enquiries:  Sallie Blair 01283 821012

Posted on Thursday 12th January 2017
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